Teeth discoloration in toddlers

Written by denise brandenberg
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Teeth discoloration in toddlers
Many toddlers have teeth discolouration issues. (Happy Toddler image by Mary Beth Granger from Fotolia.com)

Parents of toddlers typically have many concerns, such as wondering when the little one will start talking and beginning potty training. Some look forward to baby teeth, because it means the toddler can start eating regular food (which may mean less work for the parents). Baby teeth, or primary teeth, are usually ivory or off-white, but many modern toddlers have discoloured teeth.


Discoloured toddler teeth come in a wide variety of shades and textures. According to Babycenter.com, some toddlers have yellow or orange-coloured teeth, while others show dark brown stains. Many parents notice spots on their toddlers' teeth, such as white spots or dark spots.

Possible Causes

There are dozens of reasons why toddlers may have stained teeth. One of the most common reasons is inadequate brushing that leaves bacteria and plaque formation on the teeth. Some medications, such as supplemental vitamins containing high amounts of iron, can cause dark teeth stains, according to the Mayo Clinic. Pregnant mothers who took the antibiotic tetracycline (including oxytetracyclin, minocycline and doxycycline) may have toddlers with discoloured teeth. Many types of toothpastes have too much fluoride for toddlers, and they leave white spots on teeth. Some toddlers have genetic enamel formation issues that cause discoloured teeth, while others have injured the root of their teeth from hard falls.


Discoloured toddler teeth may be the symptom of an illness. Some newborns that had jaundice will have spotted teeth. Some toddler teeth are discoloured from high recurring fevers or infections. Other conditions, such as some types of heart disease or hepatitis, will result in discoloured teeth.


Usually you can remove a stain resulting from plaque build-up and improper brushing; use an adult toothpaste or brush with baking soda and water. Some dentists will do professional scrubbing on toddler teeth, while others will not. If the stains are caused by a fall or root injury, the discolouration comes from inside the tooth and cannot be removed.


Avoid discoloured toddler teeth by preventing it from occurring. Start brushing toddlers' teeth twice a day with baby toothpaste and a baby toothbrush as soon as the first tooth appears. Avoid giving toddlers sugary drinks, such as concentrated fruit juices and flavoured milk. Don't give toddlers drinks, other than water or plain milk, after their teeth are brushed in the evening, and never add sugar to their food or drinks.

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